Bossier City, LA – Trainer Scott Gelner is a busy man! He is currently running horses at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and on Saturday, sends Norman Stables, LLC’s Taylor’s Spirit to Churchill Downs to run in the Grade 2, $200,000 Pocahontas. Shaun Bridgmohan will pilot the Kentucky-bred daughter of Algorithms, who is undefeated in three starts for Gelner. She stretched out successfully in the $60,000 Happy Ticket here on September 2 and will have to go an extra sixteenth of a mile Saturday.
“She’s a nice filly and has handled everything well so far,” he said.
Gelner will not make the trip to Kentucky as he and his wife, Felicia, will renew their vows on Saturday. They look forward to welcoming family members; many of whom could not make it to Louisiana for their wedding a decade ago.
“They couldn’t get here because of the hurricane,” explained Gelner.
He has eight stalls at Churchill Downs; will have 40 at Delta Downs when their fall season begins and 24-30 at Fair Grounds when the New Orleans track opens in November. Plus, Gelner plans to send 12 to Sam Houston Race Park for their 2019 Thoroughbred meet.
“I was at Sam Houston back in 1994 as an assistant to my dad, John Charles Gelner,” he said.
Gelner has a very nice filly named Yes Gorgeous, who was also a stakes winner on Super Derby Day. He owns and trains the 3-year-old filly by Mass Media out of a mare named Isn’t She Gorgeous. He purchased Yes Gorgeous for a mere $1,700 at the Louisiana Mixed Sale.
“I trained her mama for a few races,” said Gelner. “She had a few problems, but overcame them with her big heart. When I saw this filly at the sale, I wasn’t sure what kind of career she would have.”
But in what has to be one of the most pleasant surprises, Yes Gorgeous has been a treasure for Gelner. Her victory in the $60,000 Elge Rasberry on September 2 was her fourth in 17 starts. She has run second nine times and has already earned $208,455.
“You always dream about a sale purchase fulfilling your expectations,” said Gelner. “This filly is just a blessing from God for me and my family. She has handled everything we have ever asked: turf, dirt, even running against the boys.”
His father, John Charles Gelner, had a productive three-decade career in Texas and Louisiana. Both parents are deceased, and their loss is very difficult for Gelner. When Yes Gorgeous won in the driving rain on Super Derby day, Gelner wept following her victory.
“I really missed both my mom and dad that day,” said Gelner. “I knew they were with me and the rain just felt like their tears of joy.”
Gelner also trains In the Navy, owned by Kendel D. Standlee, who captured his fifth career win on August 4 in the $60,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Classic.
“He’s just a great turf horse,” said Gelner. “I am proud of the fact that he has won on each of the Louisiana turf courses.”
Both In The Navy and Yes Gorgeous will be pointed to Fair Grounds.
Gelner acknowledges the support of his owners, including Robbie and Mark Norman, Kendel Standlee, Red Rose Racing and Ty Smith for A.J. Foyt.
“Owners and good help are important to be successful in racing,” stated Gelner.
Gelner is currently the eighth-leading trainer at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. Purses were increased by $2,000 a race, effective September 8 through the end of the meet, and Gelner expressed his appreciation.
“It’s a big help,” he stated. “Louisiana Downs has stepped up to help the horsemen. We appreciate their efforts, for sure.”
The growth of Gelner’s stable this year has been significant and 2018 is on track to be the most fruitful since he branched out on his own in 2006.
Born in Cameron, Texas, Gelner and his wife, Felicia reside in Lafayette, Louisiana with their three children.
He pauses to reflect on this year and how he will manage his growing operation.
“Quite honestly, I trust in God,” he said. “He has always guided me in the right direction. Faith in God and the love of my family is what keeps me on track.”
Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings
As of September 10, Karl Broberg tops the trainer standings with 23 wins. Last year’s leading trainer, Joey Foster is on a roll with 21 winners. Al Stall, Jr. follows with 20 victories and Jorge Lara has saddled 17 winners this meet.
Emanuel Nieves tops the rider standings with 67 wins, but last year’s leading jockey Gerardo Mora has been steadily making his way up the ladder and is now in second place with 64 victories.
Joel Dominguez is third with 61 trips to the winner’s circle and Hector Del-Cid and Richard Eramia have each won 38 races.
Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. and End Zone Athletics, Inc. are tied for leading owner honors with 13 wins. Patti Turner is next with 12 victories and Beverly Burress and Indian Creek Thoroughbred Farms, LLC follow with eight wins each.
Diego Saenz Approaching his 2,000th Career Win
Jockey Diego Saenz is just 11 wins away from his 2,000th career victory. The 39-year-old rider won four of the seven features on the Super Derby card. He piloted Limation for owner Michael Langford in the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby, which was the first graded stakes of his career.
Saenz is named on six horses this week. Once the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs meet wraps, he will head to Delta Downs when their meet opens October 17. He has won four leading rider titles at the Vinton, Louisiana racetrack.
Wednesday and Saturday Race Day Promotions
Louisiana Downs offers value for racing fans each Wednesday with Dollar Day. They will be able to enjoy $1 hot dogs, $1 beer at the Paddock as well as $1 programs. Saturday’s weekly promotion is the Family Four Pack featuring four hot dogs, four sodas, a program, and a box seat for four at the affordable price of just $16.
The Total Rewards program is free for horseplayers. With the swipe of their card each Saturday, members will receive valuable incentives. These include:
- Play $250 or more to receive a 5X multiplier
- Play $1,000 or more to receive a 7X multiplier
- Play $5,000 or more to receive a 10X multiplier
Participant’s multiplier cannot exceed a total balance of more than one hundred thousand (100,000) Reward Credits during one promotional day after the multiplier is applied.
Post Times and Stakes Schedule
Live racing will be conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday with a 3:15 p.m.(Central) post time through September 26.
About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs
Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.